ZURICH: Gianni Infantino may have no option but to give up entirely on his contentious plan for a revamped Club World Cup and new Global Nations League writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The president of world football federation FIFA conceded after a European executive summit in Rome last week that his hopes for approval by its governing council in Miami in a fortnight’s time was possibly too ambitious.
Five of the world game’s six confederations were broadly in favour of the concepts because of the $25bn revenue on offer from a consortium led by the Japanese investment conglomerate Softback.
However UEFA was opposed on several grounds and the new competitions would be still-born without a buy-in from the European federation.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said, after his own body’s congress a fortnight ago, that no change to the international calendar could even be considered – let alone agreed – before 2024.
Now sources in Zurich who attended this week’s stakeholders’ summit said they understood that the Softbank proposal had been withdrawn. The consortium could tender again if FIFA Council were to decide in principle to expand the Club World Cup whose current format – each December – is generally judged a failure.
The stakeholders committee is chaired by Victor Montagliani, the Canadian president of the central and north American body CONMEBOL, and comprises representatives of confederations, clubs, leagues, players and commercial interests.
If the leaks are correct this would be the first major setback for Infantino since he was voted in as president of FIFA in 2016 in succession to banned and disgraced Sepp Blatter. He will still be re-elected by congress in June, standing unopposed for his first full four-year term.